Prisoners: Childbirth

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 16th March 2020.

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Photo of Jo Stevens Jo Stevens Labour, Cardiff Central

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many women gave birth (a) inside each prison and (b) on the way from prison to hospital in (i) 2017, (ii) 2018 and (iii) 2019.

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

Every effort is made to transfer pregnant women to hospital to give birth. On the rare occasions that births take place in prisons, it is owing to the unpredictability of labour.

The information requested is not currently collected centrally as a matter of routine. Information on births in prisons is recorded by the prison, and on births in transit from prison to hospital by either the prison or the NHS Trust, depending on the mode of transport used. It would not be possible to collect and collate this information without incurring disproportionate cost.

I am able to state, however, on the basis of specific data collection exercises we have conducted, that there were fewer than five births in prison in 2018. We are unable to publish a more specific number because this would risk identifying individuals and therefore confidentiality, which contravenes the Data Protection Act.

We are conducting a review of our policy on Mother and Baby Units, which includes looking at how we can improve the data available in relation to pregnancy and births. This is a complex area and there are sensitive issues relating to use of confidential medical information. The review is due to be published in the summer.

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